Jan 2011

Key questions you should ask your accounting outsource provider

By: Odyssey Outsourcing
Tags: Data, Outsourcing, Security, Tax Agent

As one of the first pioneers of Australian accounting outsourcing we’ve developed a list of questions that our prospective client’s ask. To assist you with selecting a high quality outsourcing services provider (OSP), we provide the following key questions you should be asking your OSP.

About the company

  • Who owns the OSP I am dealing with – is it an Australian?
  • Is the outsourcing company that is doing the work an Australian registered tax agent in its own right or is it only an individual associated with the company that is a tax agent?
  • Are there Australian individual registered tax agents on-site where the OSP performs the work or is the tax agent based in Australia?
  • Does an Australian registered tax agent review the work onsite before it is returned to me?
  • Does anyone in the OSP hold an Australian Certificate of Public Practice?
  • Does the OSP have Australian PI insurance under an Australian, approved scheme?
  • Is the OSP a member of an Australian accounting body such as e.g. ICAA, CPA Australia, IPA, SPAA, NTAA?

About the staff

  • Do you have any staff that hold professional Australian accounting qualifications (i.e. Australian CA’s and/or CPA’s)?
  • How many staff do you have and how many members of your staff have connections with Australia i.e. Australian citizens/permanent residents, and/or have studied or worked there?
  • How do you train your staff in Australian tax and accounting?
  • How do you keep your staff up to date with the latest Australian accounting and tax legislation?

About the work

  • How does the process work?
  • Are there fixed fees or commitments?
  • Am I obligated to send work once I’ve signed a services agreement?
  • What are the prices and how much do your competitors charge?
  • How much work can I send?
  • What are the turnaround times on the work I send?
  • What can I expect back once my job is complete?

About IT & data security

  • Do your accountants have full control of confidential data at all times?
  • Can your staff access client information and jobs from outside the office?
  • How do you prevent your staff from accessing confidential client data from outside the office? For example, how do you prevent your staff-members from logging into a client’s online accounting software (e.g. Xero, QuickBooks Online etc) from outside your office?
  • Do you have your own internal IT security team or do you rely on external IT support?

About physical security

  • Do you share your office with anyone else apart from those doing the outsourcing work?
  • Do you do anything else other than Australian accounting i.e. websites, software, call centre etc?
  • Do you have secure entry facilities? How do you monitor who is coming and going in your office?
  • How do you monitor your employees?
  • What other security policies do you have in place to protect the integrity of my firm’s confidential client data?

Odyssey is the market leader in the provision of outsourced accounting services. We are proudly Australian owned and managed. Please contact us for more information about how we can assist your operations.

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